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Prue Leith 'to take over from Mary Berry' on Great British Bake Off

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 14/02/2017 By Sophie Jamieson

Prue Leith 'to take over from Mary Berry' on Great British Bake Off To many viewers of the Great British Bake Off, Mary Berry will be an impossible act to follow when the much-loved cookery competition makes the move to Channel 4 this year. 

But among the names touted to take her place as judge alongside Paul Hollywood, one has emerged as the frontrunner - and few could doubt her credentials for the job.

Restaurateur and food writer Prue Leith is being tipped to take the role in what the television programme's bosses are said to see as a "like for like" replacement for 81-year-old Berry. 

Indeed, Leith has already served as a judge for a decade on the similarly-named BBC cookery contest, Great British Menu, which pits professional chefs against one another. 

Only four months ago she said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph that she had no intention of throwing her hat in the ring to replace her friend Berry in the show's new line-up.

Prue Leith previously denied she was interested in the job. 

"I couldn't understand what all the fuss was about, really. I was more concerned about Brangelina," she said following the break-up of the original Bake Off team. 

But now a source has told the Sun that Leith - who at 76 is the same age as Berry was when the programme first launched - has been recruited as the new judge.

The source said: “Both are from similar backgrounds, so hopefully viewers will be accepting and give Prue a chance to win them over.

“Following in Mary’s footsteps is a big challenge.

“But the producers are confident that Prue has all the attributes."

Paul Hollywood is the last man standing of the original line-up.

Leith is famed for her eponymous cookery school, which she founded in 1975, and for running a Michelin-starred restaurant. 

Berry said she decided to stay with the BBC "out of loyalty" to the corporation for nurturing her and the show from its beginnings.

The programme will also need to find new presenters, after comedy duo Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins also declined "go with the dough".

A spokesman for Channel 4 said: “We’ll be announcing the line-up in due course.”

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